Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who says he will not vote for the debt limit deal struck over the weekend by President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), is proposing that Congress instead increase the debt ceiling by only $500 billion and return to the negotiating table in a few months to work out additional spending reforms.
Paul’s proposal of a “conservative alternative” to the Biden-McCarthy deal comes amid a broader backlash against the agreement from conservatives in the Senate and House.
Paul’s alternative debt limit bill would replace caps on discretionary spending with caps on total spending — including mandatory spending programs such as Social Security and Medicare — that would cut 5 percent from the entire federal budget each year.
Under his plan, if government spending continues at its current rate, an automatic $302 billion cut would take effect in 2024 and another $241 billion cut would take effect in 2025 — amounting to a total of $545 billion in cuts over the next two years.
Paul says his proposal would balance the budget by fiscal 2028 if the government adhered to its caps.
It would also mandate that growth in federal outlays may at no point exceed the growth in revenue from the previous fiscal year.
“Sixty percent of Americans say Congress should only raise the nation’s debt ceiling if it cuts spending at the same time. I would guess the Americans answering that poll meant real cuts in spending, not an annual increase of one percent above already bloated levels of COVID-19 spending,” Paul said in a statement Tuesday.
“Bold actions must be taken to defeat our mounting national debt, and my conservative alternative to the Biden-McCarthy deal gives us a real opportunity to get our fiscal house in order,” he said.
The Kentucky senator told The Hill earlier this month that he would not support any legislation to raise the debt limit unless it included reforms to balance the federal budget within five years.
“I voted in 2011 for Cut, Cap and Balance and that would actually add a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. That was hardcore. That’s still what I’m for,” he said.
“I would vote to raise the debt ceiling for a balanced budget amendment that balances in five years. So that’s where I am,” he added.
Paul announced on Twitter over the weekend that he will vote against the debt limit bill Biden and McCarthy negotiated.
“Kevin McCarthy has endorsed a debt ceiling ‘deal’ that will ensure our country hits $35 trillion in debt in less than two years. Joe Biden and Democrats would now get a free pass on defending their reckless spending before the next election. This deal must be rejected,” Paul tweeted.